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Carly Elisabeth Simon (born June 25, 1945 in New York City) is an Academy Award, Golden Globe and two-time Grammy Award winning American musician who emerged as one of the leading lights of the early 1970s singer-songwriter movement. She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994.
Simon's father was Richard L. Simon (co-founder of Simon & Schuster, Inc.), an accomplished pianist who often played Chopin and Beethoven at home. Her mother was Andrea Louise Simon (née Heinemann), a biracial (black and Jewish) civil rights activist and singer. Carly was raised in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx, New York City and has two older sisters, Joanna (b. 1940) and Lucy (b. 1943), and a younger brother, Peter (b. 1947). She attended the Ethical Culture Fieldston School and eventually wrote the school song for their lower school.
Simon married fellow singer-songwriter James Taylor on November 3, 1972. Simon and Taylor had two children, Sarah Maria ("Sally") born January 7, 1974 and Benjamin Simon ("Ben") Taylor born January 22, 1977, both of whom are musicians and political activists. Simon and Taylor divorced in 1983. In the June 20, 2004 issue of Askmen.com, Simon said that she no longer speaks to her ex-husband James Taylor. "I would say our relationship is non-existent. It's not the way I want it."
Prior to her marriage to Taylor, Simon had been romantically linked to Cat Stevens, Mick Jagger, Kris Kristofferson, and Warren Beatty and each has been put forward as the inspiration of her hit single "You're So Vain" written in 1972.
Simon was engaged to musician Russ Kunkel from 1985 to 1986.
Simon married James Hart, a writer, poet, and businessman, in December 23, 1987. The couple divorced in 2007.
Carly Simon's musical career began with a short-lived attempt with her sister Lucy as The Simon Sisters. They had a minor hit in 1964 called "Winkin', Blinkin' and Nod" and made three albums together before Lucy left to get married and start a family. After that Simon hooked up with eclectic New York rockers Elephant's Memory for about six months. She also appeared in the 1971 Milos Forman movie Taking Off where she played an auditioning singer and sang the song "Long Term Physical Effects" which was included in Taking Off, the 1971 soundtrack for the movie.
Her solo music career began in 1971 with the self-titled Carly Simon for Elektra Records. The album contained her breakthrough top-ten hit - the haunting, bleak suburban melodrama "That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be" - and was followed quickly by a second album, Anticipation, the title cut from which also received significant airplay.
Simon's major breakthrough LP, though, was 1972's No Secrets. The album spawned several successful singles, including Simon's biggest hit, "You're So Vain".
In 1973 Simon performed on Lee Clayton's album Lee Clayton co-singing on the song "New York Suite 409" and on Livingston Taylor's album Over The Rainbow singing with both Livingston and James Taylor on the songs "Loving Be My New Horizon" and "Pretty Woman".
She followed up the success of No Secrets with the well-received albums Hotcakes (1974) and Playing Possum (1975). In 1974 Simon also performed on Tom Rush's album Ladies Love Outlaws, co-singing with Rush on "No Regrets" and as backup on "Claim On Me". In 1975 Elektra also released her first greatest-hits album The Best of Carly Simon. Another Passenger was released in 1976.
On May 8, 1976, Simon made her only appearance on Saturday Night Live. It was a taped, not live, appearance during which she sang two songs: "Half A Chance" and "You're So Vain". 1976 also saw Simon contribute backup vocals on the song "Peter" on Peter Ivers's album Peter Ivers. In 1977 Simon co-produced Libby Titus's album Libby Titus and sang backup on two songs, "Can This Be Our Love Affair?" and "Darkness 'Til Dawn".
Her sales began moderating with 1975's Playing Possum, and 1976's Another Passenger but in 1977 she would have a hit with "Nobody Does It Better" from the soundtrack to the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. Charting at #2, this was her second-biggest US hit after "You're So Vain". This lead to another hit album in 1978 album titled Boys in the Trees which produced another top ten hit, "You Belong to Me". Also in 1978, Simon and James Taylor sang backup vocals on two songs for Taylor's sister Kate's album Kate Taylor: "Happy Birthday Sweet Darling" and "Jason & Ida". Simon and Taylor also sang backup on three songs on John Hall's debut solo album John Hall, "The Fault", "Good Enough" and "Voyagers". Simon and Taylor would also sing backup on one song, "Power", from Hall's next album, also titled Power (1979).
On November 2, 1978 Simon was the guest vocalist on the song "I Live In The Woods" at a live, four-hour concert by Burt Bacharach and the Houston Symphony Orchestra at Jones Hall in Houston, Texas. All the songs at that concert became Bacharach's album Woman, which was released in 1979. That year, shortly after the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, from September 19 to September 22, a series of concerts were held at New York's Madison Square Garden sponsored by MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy), a group of musicians against nuclear power, co-founded by John Hall. Always politically active, Simon and James Taylor were part of the concerts which later became a film documentary as well as a live album called No Nukes.
Simon finished the decade with her last album for Elektra called Spy, released in 1979.
From 1972 to 1979 Simon sang backup vocals on the following James Taylor songs and albums (not counting compilations): "One Man Parade" from 1972's One Man Dog, "Rock 'n' Roll Is Music Now", "Let It All Fall Down", "Me And My Guitar", "Daddy's Baby" and "Ain't No Song" from 1974's Walking Man, "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" from 1975's Gorilla, "Shower the People", "A Junkie's Lament", "Slow Burning Love" and "Family Man" from 1976's In the Pocket, and "B.S.U.R." from 1979's Flag. She also co-wrote with Taylor the song "Terra Nova" on his 1977 album JT. At the end of the song, Simon sang what has come to be known as "Lambert's Cove".
In 2000 she returned from her illness with The Bedroom Tapes, her first album of original songs in almost six years. In 2001, Simon performed on "Son of a Gun" with Janet Jackson on Jackson's album All For You. She also contributed back-up vocals on two songs, "Don't Turn Away" and "East Of Eden", for Mindy Jostyn's 2001 album Blue Stories. In November of 2001, "Let the River Run" was used in a public service ad for the United States Postal Service. Entitled "Pride", it was produced to boost public confidence and postal worker morale in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks and the 2001 Anthrax attacks. As the song played, images of postal workers were shown, as overlay text reminded viewers of the unofficial United States Postal Service creed and history.
In 2002, Simon recorded a Christmas album, Christmas Is Almost Here, for Rhino Records while in Los Angeles lending support to her son, Ben Taylor, and his band. That same year, Simon personally chose all the songs for a two disc anthology album titled Anthology, also for Rhino Records. 2003 saw a re-release of her 2002 Christmas album but with two extra tracks and called Christmas Is Almost Here Again, also on Rhino Records. The two extra tracks, "White Christmas" and "Forgive" were also released as a single. Simon also performed several concerts during the 2004 holiday season at Harlem's Apollo Theater along with BeBe Winans, son Ben and daughter Sally, Rob Thomas, Livingston Taylor, Mindy Jostyn, and Kate Taylor along with other members of the Taylor and Simon family. The show was directed by Randy Johnson and produced by Kerri Brusca.
Among Simon's recent work were songs for the Disney Winnie the Pooh films Piglet's Big Movie in 2003 and Pooh's Heffalump Movie in 2005. Several of her songs were also prominently featured in the 2004 movie Little Black Book starring Brittany Murphy and Holly Hunter. Simon appears in a cameo role as herself at the end of the movie. 2004 also saw the release of her fourth greatest hits album, Reflections: Carly Simon's Greatest Hits, which eventually peaked at number 22 on the Billboard charts that year.
In 2005 she released another album of standards, her fourth, titled Moonlight Serenade. Moonlight Serenade debuted at number 7 on the Billboard charts, her highest debut since Hotcakes in 1973. To promote Moonlight Serenade, Simon performed two concerts onboard the Queen Mary II which were recorded and released on DVD on November 22, 2005. She also performed in a concert tour in the United States, her first tour in 10 years. Simon also sang a duet, "Angel Of The Darkest Night", with Mindy Jostyn on Jostyn's 2005 album Coming Home which was released several months after Jostyn's death on March 10, 2005. Besides being one of Simon's closest friends, Jostyn was married to Jacob Brackman, Simon's long-time friend and musical collaborator. Also in 2005, she became involved in the legal defense of fellow musician and family friend John Forté with his struggle against a federal incarceration.
In 2006 she recorded a new album of "soothing songs and lullabies" for Columbia Records. That album, Into White featured covers of songs by Cat Stevens, Judy Garland, The Beatles and the Everly Brothers as well as two new songs. It also features the vocal collaborations of her children, Ben Taylor and Sally Taylor, accomplished artists in their own right. Released January 2, 2007, it became Billboard Magazine's "hot shot debut", entering the chart at number 15.
Simon is also the featured vocalist on four songs on Andreas Vollenweider's holiday album Midnight Clear, released on October 24, 2006: "Midnight Clear", "Suspended Note", "Hymn to the Secret Heart" and "Forgive". "Forgive" is a song Simon wrote for her own holiday album from 2003, Christmas Is Almost Here Again.
Simon currently lives on Martha's Vineyard and co-owns a store in Vineyard Haven named Midnight Farm, which is the title of one of her series of children's books from the late 1980s and 1990s.
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